For Sale By Owner North Idaho Real Estate

Preparing Your Home For Sale

Invest adequate time and effort preparing your home before you list it for sale. Complete any small repairs which require little to no cost and weigh the benefits of larger repairs based on how you think a potential Buyer will react if they are not completed. Pay attention to the following areas:

Curb Appeal

A Buyer’s first impression will be formed before they enter your home and you definitely want to create a good first impression.   “Curb Appeal” refers to the general look and feel of your home from the exterior and communicates to a potential Buyer whether or not your property has been well cared for.

While curb appeal is generally based on aesthetics a Buyer will still look closely at the details of your home’s exterior.   Any visible issues with the exterior will be seen as either money they must spend or work they must perform to fix. A potential Buyers may use needed repairs as negotiating leverage if they make an offer on your home.


What condition is your roof in?  Do you have debris built up along the eaves?  Are you missing shingles?  Is your chimney stack about to collapse?  A new roof is a big expense for a Home Buyer and you can count on that being one of the first details a potential Buyer notices.  If your roof is not in good condition and you do not plan to replace it, expect to negotiate at least the partial cost of a new roof into the sale price of your home.

Are your gutters and downspouts clean and properly attached to your home? Missing or leaking gutters or downspouts will communicate to potential buyers that there may be potential drainage or water issues with your home.  Take the time to ensure your gutters are up and your downspouts are properly draining away from your home’s foundation.

How does your siding look?  Chipping or flaking paint may prevent some buyers from being able to obtain financing for your home (FHA financed properties require no flaking or chipping paint on the home’s exterior). A fresh coat of paint or stain may be well worth the investment and add to the curb appeal of your home. Taking the time to at least clean the siding on your home before you list it may be a good investment.

Make sure the windows in your home are clean.  If you do not intend to replace old or drafty windows, consider what you can do to encourage a buyer to overlook this detail – be up front and honest about this or any other issue with your home, and explain that you’ve adjusted your sale price accordingly.

Clean Inside your home

You must take the time to thoroughly clean your home before you list it for sale and regularly clean it throughout the sale process.  Before listing your home for sale perform an extensive deep-cleaning of your entire home. If you have carpet, consider having it professionally cleaned.  If you have tile flooring, pay attention to any dirt buildup in the grout lines and do your best to clean them. Are your windowsills dusty? Is there dust built up on your baseboards? Clean EVERYWHERE – the laundry room, closets, light fixtures, garage, cabinets, appliances, etc.


Musty smells, smoke, and pet odors may completely turn off a potential Buyer.  If your home has any areas which smell musty, do your absolute best to properly ventilate the area.  If someone has smoked inside your home for a long period of time, you may not notice the smell of smoke but rest assured it is there.  If you plan to list your home for sale, stop smoking inside the home and consider cleaning the walls of your home and repainting them.


Do everything you possibly can to clean up your pet’s hair while your home is listed for sale. When showing your home to potential buyers, make sure your pet is not present. While you may love animals, your potential buyers may not and could have allergies, which could lead to a very negative impression. Also, do everything you can to neutralize and eliminate any pet odors.

Remove Clutter

Completely de-clutter your home before you list it for sale.  Your goal is to present your home as a clean slate in which Buyer’s can visualize THEIR possessions, furniture, and artwork in the home. You do not want potential Buyers distracted by your family pictures, your loud artwork, or your possessions strewn about the home. Before listing your home for sale buy some plastic storage bins and pack up everything you are not using, then store the bins neatly in a garage, basement, or anywhere out of view.

Remove any mounted fish or animals from your walls along with any loud artwork and place them in storage out of view from any potential buyer.  While you may be proud of these decorations they may create an uncomfortable “vibe” in a potential buyer and turn them away from your property. Remember that your goal is to SELL your house, not make a personal statement.

Bathrooms and Kitchens Sell Homes

Is your bathroom clean?  Is there mildew in your shower or tub?  Are your bathroom floors clean?  Is your vanity clean?  Are your faucets or shower head rusted or falling apart?  When you show your home to a potential buyer, your bathroom should sparkle.  A dirty or outdated bathroom is a huge turn-off for a potential buyer and could be a deal breaker.  For as little as a few hundred dollars, you can update the appearance of your bathroom with a new vanity and faucets, new shower curtain, new mirror, and some paint.

How does your kitchen look and feel?  Are your counter spaces cleared and your cabinets organized?  Is your sink clean?  Is your dishwasher dirty?  Could your kitchen use a new faucet, sink, or counter tops?  Potential buyers are going to imagine spending a lot of time in your kitchen, preparing meals and socializing with family or friends.  Do everything possible to ensure your kitchen is clean and organized.  If you have a very limited budget for home repairs prior to selling, focus that budget on the kitchen and bathrooms.